The Out of the Cold shelter for the homeless may not open this winter after a plan to have the shelter operate out of a building downtown fell through.
For the past several years, Out of the Cold had operated on Sunday and Wednesday nights out of St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, downtown at Nicola Street and Fourth Avenue. There, staff and volunteers would cook food, hand out toiletries, set up about 30 mattresses and welcome its visitors to come in and warm up.
The program has had to find a new location this winter and has thus far been unsuccessful.
In mid-December, organizers announced a location had been secured — the Canadian Mental Health Association building at 857 Seymour St. downtown. However, that plan has fallen apart since upgrades needed for the shelter to operate were deemed too daunting to complete.
Out of the Cold executive director Lena Cimmarrusti said on Tuesday morning that the organization is working on issuing a formal announcement, but confirmed the shelter will not open in the Seymour Street space.
“As you can imagine, the board is very disappointed,” Cimmarrusti said in an email to KTW. “We were prepared to open as soon as we were able. The board will be meeting next week to discuss where we go from here. I wouldn’t count them out entirely (this is one passionate group of people), but without a space, we won’t be able to provide a shelter/warming centre this winter.”
The challenge in securing a new location is the need for a kitchen, good bathroom access, a wide open space and a location where neighbours wouldn’t be too concerned about having a shelter next door.